Monday, Jul 21, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
For national champion and hot favourite Tamil Nadu, it was just another day at the office. The forwards set a fiery pace in the first quarter itself, layup and jump shots fetching baskets by the bagful. Robinson dunked once and the crowd got to see him only for quarter II. The riches gained from a proactive league back home brimmed over, if the fakes, steals and split second scoring were any indication. The untended Pondy backboard provided little more than a cakewalk.
Yet to the underdog's credit must mention be made of its inclination to attack against so formidable an opponent. Pazhani passed unnoticed now and then into the TN citadel, venturing to score and latched on to rebounds, offensive and defensive. Yet for reasons best known to the Pondy think-tank, he was consigned to the bench for the last two quarters.
In the women's match against Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu's Rajini Jose was on the rampage. Not an area of the closely fought contest remained untouched by her long arms. Tight marking of the equally tall Sofi Sam left the latter little room to score. Defensive rebounds she pounced on to set off on solo runs or initiate fast breaks. On the few occasions that AP led, her baskets invariably erased the deficit. Not only did this ease the pressure but helped regain the upper hand as well.
AP's sorties were sluggish, the finishing touches often faulty. Neither could it match the Tamil Nadu tempo nor the sheer range of its rival's assaults.
Sri Lanka was a team transformed, giving the Pondicherry defence a tough time, outnumbering if not overshadowing it for most of the encounter. Pondy's ball possession was poor, its retention worse, while the game provided an opportunity for the Lankans to test their bench strength.
Men: Group A: Tamil Nadu 77 (Gokula Krishnan 16, Sivasankar 12, Sundar 10) bt Pondicherry 28. I: 24-8. II: 39-17. III: 57-25.
Women: Tamil Nadu 60 (Rajini Jose 32, Anitha P. 9) bt Andhra Pradesh 50 (Sofi Sam 11, Binu 12, Jetty Jose 19). I: 17-14 II: 25-22. III: 49-36. Sri Lanka 53 (Premila Fernando 13, Dhanushka Wijesinghe 17, K. Silva 9) bt Pondicherry 12. I: 23-3. II: 35-5. III: 42-5.
Saturday's result: Men: Group B: Kerala 70 (Subhash Shenoy 21, Bobit Mathew 16, Joe Antony 14) bt North Zone juniors 68 (Jagdeep Singh 24, Shiv Kumar 17, Satvender 11).
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